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February 25, 2021

Loud and unsightly rooftop units can be a real problem. Increasingly stringent city noise ordinances and the rise in popularity of densely developed and mixed-use spaces are creating an increased demand for both vision proofing and noise reduction solutions. As a result, we see many architects, contractors and building owners looking for solutions to address both acoustical and vision proofing concerns.


Aesthetics, Acoustics and Applications

Acoustic panel systems are designed to serve as both outdoor noise and vision barriers where structural integrity, sound absorption and aesthetics are of concern. System panels are typically engineered to be mounted over open framing or structural steel supports. Generally, the noise dampening system is composed of an absorptive material, such as mineral wool, that is seated between a perforated steel back panel and a customizable front metal paneling. The outward facing metal panels can be fabricated form a wide variety of metals allowing for uniformity of color, texture, and profile with the location of application.
The use of acoustic paneling is not only limited to rooftop use. The flexibility of their design makes them a great choice for just about any application where sound needs to be dampened and vison blocked. Some alternate applications for the technology include the screening of backup generators, sound barriers in noisy industrial yards, dividers in machine shops and more.


Designed for Safety and Performance 

When addressing noise pollution, it is beneficial to talk numbers. There is a range of acoustical performance among panel designs. Some of the most highly performing  outdoor acoustical panels can show a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of up to 1.15 when measured in accordance with the requirements of ASTM C423 and a sound transmission class (STC) rating of 38 when tested in accordance with the requirements of ASTM E90. NRC is a rating used to measure sound absorption. Like a sponge absorbs water, an acoustic panel absorbs sound. An NRC rating of 1.15 means the product will absorb 100% of sound in a space, eliminating echoing. STC is the ability of a product or material to reduce the transmission of sound between rooms or spaces. It measures how much sound a wall, door or other sound dampening feature will prevent noise from getting through to the other side. An STC of 38, means the panel will reduce sound transmission by 38 decibels.
Outdoor acoustical dampening systems can also satisfy stringent safety requirements. Internal sound attenuating barriers are often composed of non-hygroscopic materials, have a melting point above 2,000 Degrees Fahrenheit and are rated incombustible by ASTM Standard E‐136. Be sure to review manufacturer specifications for product-specific performance and safety information.


Design Flexibility and Adaptation

Vision proofing is often needed along an entire building roofline, while acoustical panels may only be needed in certain locations, e.g. in front of loud rooftop units. Traditionally, you must either use acoustical panels as the entire screen system, increasing material costs, or sacrifice cohesive design by using separate acoustical panels where necessary with alternative vision proofing panels everywhere else. Some manufacturers have developed systems to incorporate acoustic panels only where necessary within the screen system saving resources, installation time and money.


Custom Tailored Assistance

Given the customizable nature of some acoustical screen solutions, collaboration between manufacturers, designers and installers is often a necessity. To address this need, and to ensure every project is as seamless as possible, some manufacturers offer free preliminary design, as well as continuous support and installation consultation throughout the course of every project.

Contact us or visit our SoundGuard page for more information on our industry-leading SoundGuard acoustical panels. As with all our systems, we offer free preliminary design services, continuous product support and a 20 year warranty.